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|Anna and the Swallow Man|
Author: Savit, Gavriel
When her university professor father is sent by the Gestapo to a concentration camp, seven-year-old Anna travels the Polish countryside with the mysterious Swallow Man during World War II.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 7.10
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 182010
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 11.60
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 70212
School Library Journal (00/12/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2015 Gr 8 Up—In 1939 Krakow, seven-year-old Anna realizes her linguist father is not coming back from a meeting of university professors who have been summoned by the Gestapo. She can speak many languages and converse with adults, and she's able to adapt to her surroundings as Anja, Khannaleh, Anke, or whichever persona she chooses. Her father's friend, Herr Doktor Fuchsmann, becomes fearful about hiding her, so she takes to the streets, following a tall man with a doctor's bag who talks to birds. The Swallow Man's name is never learned, but the pair wander the countryside together for four years, in a story that gradually becomes less plot-based and more allegorical. There is plenty of bird imagery, suggesting the Swallow Man might be a trickster, as he swoops, nests, and eats little but dried bread. Yet there are also hints he has run from some nefarious involvement in the war and no longer wants to be "an instrument of death." Spare dialogue and elegant prose are filled with subtleties, including the language Swallow Man and Anna agree to use to keep her safe, called the "Road." Though Anna is a child at the beginning, she ages over the course of this novel, which gets darker and more violent toward the end. When Reb Hirschl, a burly and friendly Jewish man they meet in the woods, is killed and an unscrupulous doctor asks Anna to strip in exchange for medicine, it is a loss of innocence the author compares to hatching from the egg so that she will fly on her own. VERDICT More interpretive than literal, the story will generate discussion among YA readers.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/15/2015 In 1939, seven-year-old Anna’s father, a linguistics professor in Krakow, disappears, along with 150 other academics. Parentless, she must find an adult to care for her, and thanks to her precocious, quick thinking, she convinces a willowy, enigmatic stranger to let her travel with him. Savit lyrically and languidly narrates the following years as Anna and the stranger, whom she calls the Swallow Man, peripatetically wander the Polish countryside, keeping to themselves and subsisting on whatever they can forage. Before long, the dangers of the Nazi occupation and the atrocities of the Holocaust become impossible to ignore, and when they add a Jewish musician to their traveling band, the Swallow Man faces difficult questions—how far will he go to protect Anna? And how far will he go to protect his own identity? Full of sophisticated questions and advanced vocabulary, Savit’s debut occasionally feels like an adult novel, but young readers with the patience for his gauzy pacing and oblique plot turns will be rewarded by a moving, thought-provoking story about coming-of-age in the midst of trauma. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.